West: Watch out for aphids

Although we seem to be galloping rapidly towards harvest, with two very hot weekends dramatically altering winter crops, there are still things to do and problems to be addressed.

Most wheat crops are just about past the stage when aphids can do much harm. Aphid numbers did start to build up, but there were very few crops where treatment was warranted. Late crops of winter wheat and spring cereals still need to be checked as aphid infestations can increase rapidly and the weather is certainly in their favour.

Beans and peas also need careful monitoring for aphids. In spring beans there are now green aphids as well as the usual clusters of black. The green ones are harder to see and tend to be more widespread through the crop.

Make sure any aphicides are safe to beneficial insects and preferably spray late evening when bees are less likely to be in the crop (difficult, as bees are still foraging at 9.30pm).

Mildew is now affecting both spring and winter beans, along with low levels of rust. Crops are still flowering and treatment for both diseases is justified.

Pre-harvest spraying in oilseed rape is about to get under way and most growers will include a pod sealant to reduce harvest losses. Some growers will also apply pre-harvest glyphosate to all of their cereal crops, whilst others will treat only where there are weed problems.

It has been a difficult year for weed control with variable control of tough, hardened weeds in the dry weather followed by further flushes of weeds following later rainfall. Pre-harvest glyphosate will dispose of any residual weeds, improve combining speeds, reduce drying costs and leave a clean stubble.

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